Catholic group seeks to defend gay marriage ban
A Chicago-based public interest law group that opposes same-sex marriage has filed a motion in Cook County Circuit Court asking to intervene and defend the state’s marriage law against a pair of lawsuits filed in May.
The lawsuits — filed by the gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois — claim the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Illinois Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses.
Because the Cook County state’s attorney and the Illinois attorney general have said they agree with the lawsuits, it was expected that outside groups would attempt to step in and defend the state’s ban on gay marriage.
The Thomas More Society filed its motion late Friday on behalf of two downstate county clerks, Christie Webb of Tazewell County and Kerry Hirtzel of Effingham County.
The motion notes that 15 of the 25 plaintiffs in the lawsuits do not actually reside in Cook County, yet they all sought marriage licenses in Cook County and filed the suit solely against Cook County Clerk David Orr.
“You’ve got plaintiffs from all over the state, claiming that they were going to come to Chicago to get marriage licenses, when they should’ve gone to their own county clerks and sued their own county clerks,” said Peter Breen, the society’s executive director and legal counsel. “This is just legal sleight of hand to get a friendly clerk to roll over.”
The intervention motion is set for a hearing Tuesday morning.